Engineering Code of Ethics: Beneficial Restraint on Consequential Morality

TitleEngineering Code of Ethics: Beneficial Restraint on Consequential Morality
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsCarper, K
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
Date Published1991/07/01
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number1052-3928
AbstractThe engineer acts both as a rational agent and as a moral agent in the execution of professional responsibilities. The moral view of most engineers tends toward utilitarianism. The utilitarian concept of moral action holds that the consequences of an action alone determine whether or not the action is right. The engineer will most likely resolve an ethical dilemma by acting in accordance with an assessment of the consequences of alternative actions. The professional engineering society, through its code of ethics, offers a set of moral guidelines intended to transcend particular circumstances or consequences. The ethical review board of the society will tend to approach enforcement decisions from a deontological point of view. This dichotomy of moral viewpoints within the professional engineering community is healthy. The code of ethics, and a conscientious commitment to its enforcement, provides a component of restraint upon the utilitarian morality of the typical engineering professional. Recommendations for improving awareness of the code of ethics and for strengthening its application are included.